Executive Functioning Thinking Skills
Thinking skills are the functional assets of the Cognitive Control System that make goal accomplishment possible. These skills include our ability to plan, prioritize, organize, manage time, facilitate working memory, and utilize our metacognitive abilities. Each of these skills can be targeted for intentional development.
Planning is the ability to create directions to reach a goal or complete a task. It includes the ability to visualize the big picture and imagine the final product of a large project, task, or assignment. It also includes breaking-down large projects and goals into smaller sequential tasks.
Prioritizing is the ability to choose the best course of action by determining the level of importance and urgency of each task and the appropriate order of operations. Prioritizing also includes the ability to act according to priority and manage competing responsibilities.
Organization is the ability to design and maintain systems for keeping track of information, tasks, and material. It is the ability to create physical or digital systems to organize items for accessibility and to maintain these organizational systems to complete and manage daily tasks.
Time management is the ability to correctly estimate how much time one has and how to allocate it order to stay within given time limits and deadlines. It includes determining how much time a task will take, how much time has elapsed, as well as, how to manage it efficiently to accomplish competing responsibilities.
Working memory is the ability to hold information in mind while performing complex tasks. It includes the ability to memorize new information and recall it when needed by appropriately determining when to draw on past learning or experience and apply it to a situation at hand or predict and prepare for a future occurrence.
Metacogntion is the ability to take a birds-eye view of a situation and think about one's own thinking and behavior. It is the ability to self-reflect and analyze actions, the intent behind each action, as well as, the ability to visualize how to problem-solve & navigate through the necessary steps to find a resolution.
Executive Functioning: Emotional Management
The emotional management components of the cognitive control system are the functional assets that allow our logic and reasoning to override our emotional reactions and impulses. These skills include: self-regulation, task initiation, impulse control, sustained attention, mental flexibility, persistence and determination. Each skill can be targeted for intentional development.
Self regulation is the ability to manage emotions and behaviors in order to achieve goals and complete tasks. It includes understanding the impact of participation and behavior in different environments, as well as, the ability to control and modify reactions, urges, and behaviors to achieve desired outcomes.
Task initiation is the ability to begin a task without undue procrastination or hesitation. It includes the ability to easily identify the first steps of a task, maintain one's attention to this task, as well as, the ability to exercise logic, will, and motivation to overcome mental obstacles and environmental distractions.
Impulse control is the ability to inhibit your immediate impulsive responses to instead utilize the capacity to think before you act. Impulse control includes the ability to activate your executive control center to resist urges to do or say something, allowing the time to evaluate a situation and make a better decision.
Sustained attention is the capacity to continually attend to a situation or task, in spite of distractability, fatigue, or boredom. It includes the ability to maintain attention on one object, subject or task for a sustained amount of time and overcome environmental and internal distractions such as boredom or exhaustion.
Mental Flexibility is the ability to revise plans in the face of new information, obstacles, setbacks, transitions, changes or mistakes. It involves maintaining fluid adaptability to changing conditions and transitions by adapting behavior and thinking to make the necessary changes to achieve the best outcomes.
Persistence & Determination
Goal directed persistence is the capacity to follow through to the completion of a goal and not be put off by other demands or competing interests. It is the ability to persist through internal & external obstacles in order to complete an objective by managing opposing desires, demands, and interests.